Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Diary reading and washing machines

I've been reading Martha Ballards diary; I first read Laura Thatcher Ulrich's book A Midwifes Tale years ago. It is diary excerpts and Ms Ulrichs knowledgeable commentary on those excerpts. Well the entire diary is online here: There are scanned images of the actual diary itself as well as a print edition. What really makes a connection for me is the very mundane way she states her life, and how she lived it. Washing, weaving, baking, planting her garden, collecting herbs and plants, and woven in with all the everyday chores is healing and delivering babies. She was called to dress a burn, treat a sore throat, deliver a baby. It's very fascinating reading, and it makes me think of my great grandmother, Josephine Youden whose picture is on this blog today. She raised 7 children without a husband, my great grandfather was lost at sea on the Southern Cross when my grandmother was just 3. She raised her children, baked, grew a garden, spun, knitted, made mats, worked part time in a store to supplement her income, and according to my mother, was a midwife. She practiced her craft just a bit over 100 years after Martha died, but it seems to me that there were probably quite a few similarities. From what I've heard about her, she seems to have been a remarkable woman and I have her picture in my sewing room where I do so many of my own activities. She is an inspiration and I wish I had been able to meet her. She died after I was born, but before I went to Nfld. the first time. If I were to say I felt a tie to any of the women in my past, she would be the one I felt most tied to. The other woman whom I would have liked to have known would have been Anne Newell; she married Ambrose Sparkes when he came over from England, and was the beginning of my mothers line of ancestors. While she didn't move far from her birthplace which was Brigus, actually it was just over the hill, it still couldn't have been easy beginning a new settlement. She had 2 daughters who would have been a help to her, had they lived, but she lost one at birth, and the other when she was just a toddler. She also lost a son when he was just a couple of days old. I feel a bit sorry for her, although her sister married a Penny, I think his name was John, and they settled in Bull Cove, too; she was probably welcome company.

In my own little mundane world, John finally got the washer hooked up, which is cause for celebration. I also have a clothes line, he hasn't tried to hook up the dryer yet. The thought of him doing that unnerves me just a bit, it's a gas dryer and I'm a bit scared he might blow the house up.Anyway, I washed this morning and by the time I got the clothes out it started looking like rain. I hung them out anyway, hopefully the rain will pass by. I think I am going to hang a line in the basement for this very thing.

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